In an effort to combat The Sporting News’ watered-down version of SEC position rankings, what follows is an SEC fan’s perspective on the defensive rankings by position.
1. Ricky Jean-Francois, LSU
2. Geno Atkins, Georgia
3. Sen'Derrick Marks, Auburn
4. Demonte' Bolden, Tennessee
5. Ernest Mitchell, Arkansas
Notes: Oddly enough, top-tier defensive tackles are not in abundance in the SEC this season. A lot of great players at the position, but only a handful would classify as dominant.
1. Greg Hardy, Ole Miss
2. Jeremy Jarmon, Kentucky
3. Kirston Pittman, LSU
4. Antonio Coleman, Auburn
5. Eric Norwood, South Carolina
Notes: As usual, the SEC will have plenty of speed from the end position. This list could be twenty players long.
Unusual to this year, however, is that Florida does not have a proven dominant defensive end. While I do think that Carlos Dunlap will become a household name by October, he simply didn’t see the field enough as a freshman to justify a top-five spot.
Norwood has switched to linebacker this season but will still get snaps on the line, giving South Carolina even more versatility.
1. Brandon Spikes, Florida
2. Rolando McClain, Alabama
3. Jamar Chaney, Miss. State
4. Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina
5. Rico McCoy, Tennessee
Notes: Again, you could probably find another twenty names for excellent SEC linebackers. Speed, size, athleticism—these guys have it all.
1. DJ Moore, Vanderbilt
2. Captain Munnerlyn, South Carolina
3. Trevard Lindley, Kentucky
4. Jerraud Powers, Auburn
5. Joe Haden, Florida
Notes: Like the linebackers, these players all have good size, speed, hands, and everything else you could ask for. Most importantly, these corners can all man-up. The problem, of course, is the wide receivers they have to face.
1. Eric Berry, Tennessee
2. Derrick Pegues, Mississippi State
3. Rashad Johnson, Alabama
4. Emmanuel Cook, South Carolina
5. Major Wright, Florida
Notes: Broken record here, but once again, these guys all share the size and big hits that you would normally find from a linebacker—and a few will line up at linebacker from time to time.
1. Brian Shoemaker, Auburn
Notes: Like the kickers, punters in the SEC seem to be average at best, so a list is pointless. With Colquitt’s suspension and a group of guys who have to pull double duty with place-kicking and punting, it doesn’t look like the SEC will have punters who can flip the field regularly.
For the offensive breakdown, click here.